New Lord Mayor of Belfast elected
Belfast City Council tonight elected an entrepreneur with a media empire in Belfast and New York as the new Lord Mayor.
Sinn Fein's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (53) took the post serving alongside Christopher Stalford of the DUP.
The long-serving politician replaced the DUP's Gavin Robinson in the role of the city's first citizen.
Elected to the Balmoral area of South Belfast in May 2011, Mr Ó Muilleoir previously served on Belfast City Council from 1987 to 1997.
Mr O Muilleoir, who is managing director of Belfast Media Group and publisher of the US-based Irish Echo, said he would aim to deliver more jobs and a greater peace dividend for working class communities in Belfast.
He said: "In the year ahead I want the help of all our citizens to make Belfast better. My theme for my year in office will be building the future Belfast together.
"First and foremost, that means building the peace and working hard to bring our sometimes divided people together. It also means striving to create jobs and doing all I can to help put the city's economy back on track."
Mr O Muilleoir was a member of the council for a decade until 1997, before quitting politics to go into business.
The fluent Irish speaker wrote a book, The Dome of Delight, documenting his experiences as a Belfast councillor during the tense 1980s when there were fist fights and bitter exchanges between unionist and nationalist representatives.
He becomes the city's fourth Sinn Fein Lord Mayor, following Niall O'Donnghaile in 2012, Alex Maskey in 2002 and Tom Hartley in 2008.
Mr O Muilleoir has stepped away from his business interests for the duration of his term as Lord Mayor.
"I will make respect my watchword during the year. I will stretch myself," he added.
Belfast Telegraph Digital